Sam Sheepdog


In pitting Ralph Wolf against Sam Sheepdog, I was trying to discover if I could do the opposite of the chase at the heart of the Road Runner cartoons. The Road Runner is moving all the time, and at a great speed. I therefore wanted the wolf’s opponent not to move at all. And that is exactly what happens--or doesn’t. Sam just sits very solidly on the ground. He doesn’t move: he is there.

The sheepdog is always aware of Ralph’s every move, but I don’t know how he sees through that curtain of hair. I could have drawn long hair only over his nose, but I felt that his hair should be long everywhere. Even his feet are hairy, and when he sits down, I put a little fringe of hair where his bottom meets the ground.

The story of Ralph and Sam comes down to Lewis Brown’s idea that there are no judges, only people judging, no tramps, only people tramping, and so on. What does a judge do when he gets home at night? He is probably treated with the same disrespect as any other husband and father. When my daughter, Linda, was a little girl, she had real trouble convincing the other kids in the the theater that her father had drawn the Bugs Bunny cartoon they were watching. They simply didn’t believe her. On one occasion when she saw my name on the screen, she pointed to it and exclaimed, “That’s my father.” The child next to her said, “Yeah, sure, and my father’s Clark Gable.” Linda does not know to this day whether he was or not.

Sam Sheepdog appears in:

  • Don't Give Up the Sheep
  • Sheep Ahoy
  • Double or Mutton
  • Steal Wool
  • Ready, Woolen and Able
  • A Sheep in the Deep